Program Overview

The Salt Lake Chapter is thrilled to welcome the West Region back to Salt Lake City June 11-15. You’ll enjoy 23 concerts and recitals, great workshops and master classes, a banquet dinner, evening receptions, and much more. Our diverse artist roster includes Kimberly Marshall, Kenneth Udy, Jaebon Hwang, Pamela Decker, and Stephen Tharp. Richard Elliott and the Orchestra at Temple Square will present Alexandre Guilmant’s Symphony No. 2, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform in their renowned home venue. Take in a museum exhibit celebrating the Tabernacle Organ’s 150th anniversary.

We’ve prepared a program a compelling program that builds on the success of the 2003 Region VIII & IX convention, held in Salt Lake City, and the 2015 West Region Convention in San Diego. During the 5 days of the convention, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from up-and-coming organists from our region, as well as some of the world’s foremost artists on world-class instruments. Two magnum opuses reside in Salt Lake City: the famed G. Donald Harrison Æolian-Skinner organ in the Tabernacle which celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2017, and the more recent, but no less famous 130-rank Schoenstein & Co. organ in the LDS Conference Center. The Cathedral of the Madeleine features an impressive IV/77 Kenneth Jones instrument that hosts the annual Eccles Organ Festival, which has hosted more than 100 performances from artists including Olivier Latry, Ken Cowan, Gillian Weir, and Daniel Roth. In addition, you’ll hear three new organs built or enlarged by local builder M.L. Bigelow & Co.

You’ll experience Salt Lake City’s extraordinary choral music with performances from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir under the direction of Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy, and the Salt Lake Vocal Artists with director Brady Allred.

Richard Elliott, Principal Organist of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, will perform Alexandre Guilmant’s Second Symphony for Organ and Orchestra on the Tabernacle Organ with the Orchestra at Temple Square. If you come in early – Saturday June 10 – Clay Christiansen will perform a solo concert at the Tabernacle after more than 30 years on the bench.

There are more than 16 great workshops planned which will offer something for everyone. From presentations on historic organist-composers such as Louis Vierne to contemporary ones like Dale Wood, workshops on choir and hand bells, numerology in the music of J.S. Bach, and a multi-part hands-on improvisation workshop, you’ll leave the convention enriched. Two performance master classes on French Romantic music (with James Welch) and twentieth century music (with Pamela Decker) are planned. Attend the meeting of the west region and a keynote with AGO Executive Director James Thomashower at a special banquet dinner- all included with your convention registration! 

Take a look at the daily program outline below. We look forward to seeing you in Salt Lake City!Register now!

Featured Artists

Saturday June 10, 7:30 pm

Dr. Clay Christiansen, Tabernacle Organist, will perform a special pre-convention concert in the Tabernacle. Since his appointment in 1982, he has performed in the daily organ recitals on Temple Square, and accompanied the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in its weekly broadcast “Music and the Spoken Word”. Dr. Christiansen holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Brigham Young University, a Master of Music and PhD in composition from the University of Utah.

convention featured artists

Sunday June 11, 8:15pm

At 6pm, a mass with special organ improvisations will be held at the Cathedral of the Madeleine featuring Dr. Gabriele Terrone.

The Choirs of the Cathedral of the Madeleine will open our convention program with a special service of Vespers concluding the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity at 7:30 pm. Following Vespers, Dr. Kimberly Marshall, Professor of Organ at Arizona State University, will perform the opening concert of the convention at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Dr. Marshall is a widely respected performer, scholar, and educator. She holds a D.Phil in Music from the University of Oxford.

Cathedral of the Madeleine

Monday June 12, 8:00pm

Dr. Kenneth Udy, Organ Area Head at the University of Utah, will perform a concert on the University’s III/64 Lively Fulcher organ in Libby Gardner Concert Hall. Dr. Udy has performed recitals throughout the United States and Europe, teaches private students, and conducts workshops and seminars in various areas of hymnology, improvisation, and organ repertoire. Dr. Udy holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Utah State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Claremont University.

Tuesday June 13, 7:30pm

Tabernacle Organ

On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square, will perform a special concert for the American Guild of Organists 2017 West Region Convention with organists Richard Elliott, Clay Christiansen, and Andrew Unsworth. Dr. Elliott, principal organist for the Choir, will perform Alexandre Guilmant’s Second Symphony for Organ and Orchestra with the Orchestra at Temple Square. The Choir and Orchestra will then perform with organists Elliott, Christiansen, and Unsworth. The 360-voice, all-volunteer Mormon Tabernacle Choir can trace its roots to a group of singers who began gathering in August 1847, one month after Mormon pioneers arrived in Salt Lake City. The Tabernacle and its first organ was completed in 1867, and it is from this building that the group takes its name. Since then, the volunteer choir has performed for concerts and community events, religious services, US Presidents, and worldwide tours. Broadcasting each week since 1929, the Choir’s broadcast “Music and the Spoken Word” has become the longest-running uninterrupted network broadcast in the world.

The Orchestra at Temple Square was begun in 1999 as a companion organization to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and provides instrumental accompaniment on the weekly broadcasts and on tours. In addition, the group performs its own symphonic concerts in the spring and fall each year.[/one_third]

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Wednesday June 14, 8:00pm

Stephen Tharp, one of the worlds foremost organists, will perform a concert of Romantic and organ transcription music on the Schoenstein organ in the Conference Center. Having played more than 1400 concerts on 48 worldwide tours, Stephen Tharp has built one of the most well-respected international careers in the world. Stephen Tharp earned his BA degree, magna cum laude, from Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL and his MM from Northwestern University, Chicago, where he studied with Rudolf Zuiderveld and Wolfgang Rübsam, respectively. He has also worked privately with Jean Guillou in Paris.

Conference Center

Thursday June 15

The concluding day of the convention features performances by the Salt Lake Vocal Artists, one of Utah’s premiere choirs founded by renowned director Dr. Brady Allred. SLVA’s 2010 inaugural season began with a tour of Spain’s Basque region where the group competed in an international competition, earning first prize awards in every category and a special Audience Favorite award. This recognition led to invitations for 2011, including an appearance as the only United States choir at the World Choral Symposium in Argentina. In September 2011, SLVA traveled to Italy for another competition, where they once again earned five first prizes. SLVA performs several times each year throughout the Salt Lake Valley and has released four CD recordings.

Additionally, organists Dr. Linda Margetts and Dr. Clay Christiansen will perform the concluding recitals of the convention in the Tabernacle and Conference Center, respectively.

Assembly Hall organ

Other Program Information

Various program information is available in the information box below. Click on an item to expand its contents. Please note that exact times are subject to change, and transportation times are not listed except when necessary. A complete detailed schedule will be available soon and will be provided to convention registrants.

Convention Schedule

buses depart the convention hotel at Sunday June 11, 7:00 pm for the first venue and arrive at the hotel from the final venue on Thursday June 15, 3:00 pm.

Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists (RCYO)

The Quimby RCYO Competition will take place Saturday June 10. Rehearsal time will be available on the competition organ Friday June 9. Once the chapter level competitions have been finalized, the Convention will contact finalists from the chapters to coordinate rehearsal and travel schedules.

Saturday June 10 schedule (pre-convention)

9am – 12pm: RCYO warm-ups

1pm – 6pm: Quimby RCYO competition

7:30pm: Clay Christiansen Concert, Salt Lake Tabernacle

Sunday June 11 schedule (pre-convention)

9:30am – 10am: Music and the Spoken Word broadcast, Tabernacle

10:30/11am: various local worship services

2pm: Sharee Thompson Tabernacle Organ recital

Convention Begins

7pm: buses depart for the Cathedral of the Madeleine

7:30pm: Vespers service at the Cathedral of the Madeleine (RC)

8:15pm: Dr. Kimberly Marshall, Arizona State University, performs the opening concert of the convention at the Cathedral of the Madeleine

9:30pm: Travel back to the hotel for an evening reception with hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. Non-alcoholic options are available at all evening receptions.

Monday June 12 schedule

9am: Presbyterian worship service with organ, bagpipes and drums (United Firefighters Emerald Society) at First Presbyterian Church.

10:30am: Sheri Peterson recital at St. Ambrose Catholic Church

12 noon: Bonnie Goodliffe Tabernacle organ recital

2pm: Daniel Kerr Conference Center organ recital

3-4pm: Block 1 workshops at hotel

4:15-5:15pm: Block 2 workshops at hotel

5:15-7:15pm Banquet dinner, regional business meeting, and James Thomashower keynote address at hotel

8pm: Kenneth Udy concert at Libby Gardner Concert Hall

9:30pm: Travel back to hotel for evening reception

Tuesday June 13 schedule

9am: RCYO winner’s recital

10am: Plenary session: “Numerology in Bach’s Organ Music” by Dr. Craig Jessop

11am: Jaebon Hwang recital at Assembly Hall on Temple Square

12 noon: Neil Harmon Tabernacle organ recital

2pm: Andrew Unsworth Conference Center organ recital

3-4pm: Block 3 workshops at hotel

4:15-5:15pm: Block 4 workshops at hotel

7:30pm: Richard Elliott performs A. Guilmant’s Symphony No 2 for Organ and Orchestra with the Orchestra at Temple Square in the Tabernacle.

8:15pm: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Squrae will perform a concert in the Tabernacle

Wednesday June 14 schedule

9am: Halden Toy harpsichord recital at First United Methodist Church

10:15am: Liturgical Dance with Pamela Decker and Claire Hancock at First United Methodist Church

Group A

11am: Optional excursion to BYU. Participants will have a box lunch on the bus.

12 noon: Don Cook, BYU, will give a recital on the University’s 52-bell centennial carillon.

12:30pm: Tour of BYU organ department facilities

2pm: Travel to Cathedral of the Madeleine

3pm: French Romantic master class with Dr. James Welch

Group B & C

12 noon: Richard Elliott Tabernacle organ recital

2pm: James Welch Conference Center organ recital

Group B

3pm: Twentieth century master class with Pamela Decker at First United Methodist Church

Group C

2:30pm: The Conference Center Organ presentation with John Longhurst, Emeritus Tabernacle Organist and Jack Bethards, President and Tonal Director of Schoenstein & Co.

Group D

Optional excursion: Bigelow organ tour (limited to 50 participants).

11:15am: demonstration and open console time and lunch at First United Methodist Church

1:30pm: Demonstration and open console time at St. Ambrose Catholic Church

3:15pm: Demonstration and open console time at Cathedral Church of St. Mark

All groups combine at St. Mark’s

4:30pm: Evensong Service with Michael Kleinschmidt, St. Mark’s Seattle, at Cathedral Church of St. Mark (SLC).

5:30: Bus options to downtown and hotel

8pm: Stephen Tharp concert, LDS Conference Center

9:30: Bus to hotel for evening reception.

Thursday June 15

10:45am: Salt Lake Vocal Artists concert, Assembly Hall

12 noon: Linda Margetts Tabernacle Organ recital

2pm: Clay Christiansen Conference Center organ recital

Convention Ends

Bus to hotel


7pm: Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearsal

The convention includes a plated banquet dinner at the hotel on Monday June 12. All regular, special, and student registrations include the banquet. Exhibitors and companions may purchase tickets to the banquet separately. The convention fee also includes receptions each evening (Sunday-Wednesday) following the major concerts. Hors d’oeurves will be served. A cash bar is available, as well as non-alcoholic options.

Two optional excursions which are add-on items to the convention include a boxed lunch.

The hotel has an on-site restaurant for breakfast and lunch, as well as room service options. A buffet (per person) will be offered on Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday during the convention’s dinner schedule for attendees who don’t want to go outside the hotel. There are many excellent restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, or a few minutes away by TRAX- Salt Lake’s light rail service which is complimentary in the downtown area.

Brady Allred
Jack Bethards
Michael Bigelow
Larry Blackburn
Clay Christiansen
Rulon Christiansen
Don Cook
Bonita Cross
Pamela Decker
Richard Elliott
Jane Fjelsted
Gregory Glenn
Bonnie Goodliffe
Claire Hancock
Neil Harmon
Nora Hess
Christopher Huntzinger
Jaebon Hwang
Michael Imperiale
Craig Jessop
Daniel Kerr
Michael Kleinschmidt
John Longhurst
Melanie Malinka
Linda Margetts
Elizabeth McVicker
Kimberly Marshall
Roger Miller
Ryan Murphy
Sheri Peterson
Erin Scheessele
Karen Stevens
Gabriele Terrone
Stephen Tharp
James Thomashower
Sharee Thompson
Halden Toy
Kenneth Udy
Andrew Unsworth
James Welch
Mack Wilberg
Leanna Willmore
Jared Wilson
The Choir of the Cathedral of the Madeleine
Salt Lake Vocal Artists
Utah Firefighters Emerald Society